USA soccer: Why Josh Sargent is obvious pick at striker for USMNT vs. Netherlands in World Cup showdown
While a striker’s primary goal is to score goals, there are other methods to benefit the club when the ball isn’t going in. Oliver Giroud is the poster player for this, and the United States can try to imitate him by looking at how France won the 2018 World Cup without him scoring a goal. However, the team’s strengths lay in its wingers, not its striker, which has allowed Josh Sargent to thrive as Gregg Berhalter’s line leader. This is not to argue that the United States poses half the attacking threat that France does.
Despite the fact that Sargent did not provide a goal in either of the games he started, the Americans scored in both of them. He started the play for Tim Weah’s goal against Wales by moving Joe Rodon out of position, but his function against Iran was different. For Sargent to keep Iran off balance, he had to push, look for passes when the ball was played for him, and perform other gritty tasks. He performed a fantastic job at it up until the point when he had to be replaced due to an ankle injury, and a source told CBS Sports that he might be able to play against the Netherlands on Saturday in the round of 16.
Following Iran’s 1-0 victory, Davies praised Josh Sargent as “a beast.” “The holdup play, involvement, runs on both sides of the ball, defense, and checking back by Josh Sargent. Josh Sargent played at the top of his game. He might not have been my first choice to play [against Iran], but after [this performance], he’s the nine. Although he didn’t have a lot of chances to score, he was still valuable because of his involvement and the unselfishness he displayed in the final third.”
Sargent’s hold-up play, which is exactly what a forward needs to do when they aren’t scoring, has been successful in getting the United States to click in the final third. Goals would be nice, but it’s difficult to argue against keeping Sargent in the lineup as long as the squad is clicking with him there. Haji Wright has not performed well thus far, while Jesus Ferreira has not played a single minute of this World Cup.
Jimmy Conrad, a former member of the USMNT, stated during the episode that Wright has just failed to make the anticipated effect, throwing the ball away too frequently against Iran and appearing to be completely lost, with one turnover almost resulting in a penalty. Since others haven’t stepped up, it appears that Sargent has gained Berhalter’s trust for the time being.
Time will tell if Sargent is healthy enough to play, and Berhalter may find himself in a tight spot. However, starting Ferreira makes the most sense if Sargent is unable to play because he possesses some of the same attributes. Sargent, who has performed admirably for club and country after a strong campaign debut with Norwich, will be difficult to replace. Sargent has made quite a comeback since dropping out of the national team conversation in September 2021, but he has found his footing at Norwich City and secured his spot with the red, white, and blue till further notice.